Innovating Musical Traditions
Today, digital music consumed via streaming services is the dominant consumer music format. Physical music formats, such as cassette, mini-disc, DVD-audio and the once dominant compact disc, have now largely disappeared from the consumer market. But one format bucks this trend. Despite pre-dating all of these, vinyl sales increased by almost 30% in 2020.
Design Innovation with Carbon Fiber
Wilson Benesch is a family-owned British based brand that specializes in the design and manufacture of high-tech home consumer audio products. Defining new standards in performance, technology and pioneering product design is paramount to the company. Its first product - a turntable used for vinyl replay - is a good example of its story of innovation. Developed in the 1980s and launched in 1989, Wilson Benesch’s first turntable featured carbon fiber composite components at a time when such materials were rare in consumer products. The company has used carbon fiber composite technologies in all of its subsequent products as well, achieving industry leading performance.
Craig Milnes, co-owner and Design Director of Wilson Benesch said: “Many consumers might consider the use of carbon fiber and take it really only at face value, indeed the material is now commonly seen as a surface finish in consumer products to distill the idea of a given product as being ‘high-tech’. The difference with Wilson Benesch is that we are innovating complex hybridized structures that use carbon fiber which by some considerable margin outperform similar structures that we could create using other materials. Thus we are deriving a significant performance advantage over our competitors.”
Christina Milnes, co-owner and Managing Director at Wilson Benesch added: “In 2021, innovative product design is more important than ever. Consumers today are highly knowledgeable, passionate and they are linked to and know a brand and its products now more intimately than ever before. We recognize that in this respect, we offer something genuinely unique and authentic.”
With advanced materials technology, there is a demand for state-of-the-art manufacturing systems to produce high quality components, quickly and repeatedly to a consistent standard. Wilson Benesch operates a CNC Machine Suite and Carbon Fiber Composite Suite to produce 90% of its inventory in house. For its latest new product developments, Wilson Benesch sought new manufacturing technologies with the goal of pushing again the limits of product design and performance.
Working with Markforged
Wilson Benesch will launch its new turntable the GMT ONE System™ in 2022. The turntable has been in development for a decade and through this extensive process, Wilson Benesch identified Markforged as the leading company within the field of additive manufacturing technologies. The Markforged technologies created the perfect combination of design freedom and material science. Markforged value added reseller, Additive-X, has worked alongside Wilson Benesch throughout this product development, helping them to achieve this goal.
Thanks to the Digital Forge, Markforged’s intuitive, AI-driven additive manufacturing platform, Wilson Benesch is now able to create highly-optimized, complex, three dimensional components that are impossible to manufacture with traditional methods. Additionally, carbon fiber has been used within complex 3D design systems to add maximum stiffness, optimum energy damping and to reduce mass within the nylon structures created by Wilson Benesch’s Markforged fleet.
With a six figure retail sum, the GMT ONE System Turntable is designed for the most discerning consumers who expect exceptional build and finish quality. In this respect Markforged once again allows Wilson Benesch to achieve this goal.
“Some of our new products wouldn’t exist without Markforged,” Craig Milnes explained. “Certainly, the GMT ONE System is the most ambitious product development pathway Wilson Benesch has ever committed to. Markforged is allowing us to develop advanced, high-performance structures and components to achieve new levels of performance within our products and bring them to market in a shorter time frame. In terms of rapid prototyping, where previously a component used within product development might take a week or longer to setup and tool from metal using our CNCs, we are able to produce the same component from carbon doped nylon in a few hours.”
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